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Social Security decision affects federal retirees

By Joe Davidson
Ed O'Keefe

By The Post's Federal Diary columnist Joe Davidson:

Social Security and Supplemental Security Income recipients will get no cost-of-living adjustment next year, the Social Security Administration announced Friday. The same applies to federal retiree pension payments.

This is the second consecutive year without a COLA adjustment.

Retiree benefits, like Social Security, increase automatically with the cost of living if it rises. Whether or not an adjustment is made is determined by formula. Unlike many decisions in Washington involving money, this one is totally separate from who controls the White House or Congress.

The Social Security Administration explained it this way: "The Social Security Act provides for an automatic increase in Social Security and SSI benefits if there is an increase in the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) from the third quarter of the last year a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) was determined to the third quarter of the current year. As determined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there is no increase in the CPI-W from the third quarter of 2008, the last year a COLA was determined, to the third quarter of 2010, therefore, under existing law, there can be no COLA in 2011."

How does this decision affect you? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below

By Joe Davidson  | October 15, 2010; 2:12 PM ET
Categories:  Workplace Issues  
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Why isn't there a national "Pool" to match seniors or Disabled Americans with unemployed or other SSA recipients so that:
A. They can combine incomes and survive
B. They can contribute and avoid foreclosures
C. WE can assist others (or each other) with friendship, companionship, and medical needs.
There are literally MILLIONS of Americans that struggle to live alone on SSA. Many are leasing apartments, small homes, or living with relatives with no time or similar interests, desire, or NEEDS to house and care for a retired or disabled relative or friend. Those SSA recipients could join someone in similar circumstances and vastly improve their finances and quality of life. Why doesn't a government agency or private business exist to make this happen??? The feds would subsidize it and save a fortune and it would employee thousands of now unemployed Americans. I don't have the skills to create it but I could damned sure assist it. Anyone out there need a job and a new life doing something worthwhile for America?

Posted by: FireWashington | October 15, 2010 3:35 PM | Report abuse

How about we freeze health insurance at their current levels. Cola freeze last year health insurance up 7%. Cola freeze this year lets freeze health insurance

Posted by: ryerse | October 15, 2010 4:16 PM | Report abuse

Just wondering how the answer to the "jobs" problem is cutting jobs, cutting pay, and cutting pensions and SS. Anyone outside DC think that folks without jobs and with less income won't spend much?


So, Bernanke now decides it's a perfect time to increase inflation.

Did the Titanic Captain run down and enlarge the hole so the water would flow out better?

He would have if he was a politician.

DC and NY are insane.

Posted by: 854539299654g | October 15, 2010 6:26 PM | Report abuse

I am a military retiree, and I am smart enough to know if you are in a hole (deficit) and want to get out...the first step is to stop digging. COLA is just more digging.

Posted by: ArmyVet1 | October 15, 2010 8:05 PM | Report abuse

#1) I work for a certain agency, and know for a fact that Social Security is getting completely raked by people who get approved for disability benefits who don't deserve it; and #2) Social Security was designed only to a supplement to income, NEVER to be the major source of anyone's income, whether disabled or elderly - no one was ever supposed to depend on Social Security for their existence. Go back and read the original legislation.

Posted by: dfoster1 | October 15, 2010 9:23 PM | Report abuse

I think this is a bad deal for vets .us non service connected vets only receive less then 1,000 a month an all of my livening cost from food rent gas &ult have gone up. this means I,ll have to take more money out of my food allowance to pay my bills . thank you congress for all your help .

Posted by: donstroemer | October 16, 2010 3:49 AM | Report abuse

My property and school taxes go up every year, but not my federal pension. Why aren't those taken into account in the CPI? I'm getting screwed.

Posted by: jpherling | October 16, 2010 8:39 AM | Report abuse

Of coarse they aren,t going to give the seniors a social security raise for cost of living. If the did that, they couldn,t vote themselves a 6% raise for congressman and senators. The American people have got to realize that government is out of control. They are bankrupting our country because of their greed. they know what is happening and are building themselves a financial cushion at our expense. When the United States becomes a third world country they will have all the money and control. You know, kind of like a dictator has.

Posted by: snickers1138 | October 16, 2010 9:43 AM | Report abuse

More money is being paid out than what is coming in. The baby boomers are here however how long has the system known we were coming. I fell the system is taking it out on us because neither the Republicans or Democrats had the guts to fix a problem. Thus we have a problem with funds that can't be fixed unless benefits are reduced.

Posted by: dorrtribe | October 16, 2010 10:14 AM | Report abuse

This government is going to bankrupt us all!!
How do they think senior citizens are going to survive, if year after year they deny a cost of living increase? It is a struggle to live as it is.These politicians don't have to worry where their next meal is coming from or where to get money to put gas in the car, to go to the Doctor. Which brings me to another disgrace in this country..Gas prices!! These oil companies got the prices up to where they want them & our government has done NOTHING about it.Does no one realize when all this mess started? They blame it on Katrina, but it was the gas prices that has hurt everyone so bad. Because they could not afford to pay both gas & child care or gas & mortgage/rent, etc. And companies could afford the gas prices either, so it was a big nasty circle, for the hard working people of this country.And the sad part of this is, the people of this country just sit back & let them politicians get away with everything. Not a protest or even a peep, from anyone.So wake up, America!! Remember them at election time.Time for a change!!

Posted by: auntienana21 | October 16, 2010 10:27 AM | Report abuse

With the current economic situation, a cola for SS is very small in comparision to the money wasted by the Gov. The gov needs to focus on waste within thier own agencies.
They preach, "do as I say, not as I do". How many Government agencies are there now? Check on that.

Posted by: MikeMan2 | October 16, 2010 11:24 AM | Report abuse

Why do cuts need to be on the backs of seniors? I just got a notice, yesterday, that my health insurance is going up $13.00. That is only one small example. Of course, we see politicians voting themselves raises. I voted for Obama, but, now I dont know who to vote for. Certainly not the Republicans that started this whoe mess. AT age 70, I have always felt it important to vote, but who?

Posted by: marybrazier | October 16, 2010 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Why do the cuts have to be made on the backs of seniors? Because we are considered the weakest?

Posted by: marybrazier | October 16, 2010 12:40 PM | Report abuse

i recieve $674 per rent is $600.after utilities..well you figure it wait.the goverment would spend $20,000,000 to figure that about why there are millions in this country that are wait.that would cost another $20,000,000.insted of killing us slowly,why not have a place we can go to die in sure that millions of us would go there and give back that last check to the idiots that cant figure this out

Posted by: netdoggydawg | October 16, 2010 1:11 PM | Report abuse

For 8years the Government gave George W.Bush a open checkbook on funding the U.S war machine.While the economy went unchecked.Just this year Republicans blocked unemployd Americans & their famlies from receiving unemployment checks.Now Republicans Blame this administration for the economic mess and WANT to take away our Social Security Benefits and health care.The president wants to give seniors a$250 COLA adjustment.The Republicans say no .Seniors need to be heard VOTE DEMOCRAT before we lose everything to the Republicans and their rich croonies tax breaks and un checked Banking practices and unchecked Oil Companies.

Posted by: kd12657 | October 16, 2010 1:58 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: tdodds1944 | October 17, 2010 12:12 AM | Report abuse

The main problem is the way people vote -- especially when people don't vote!

If you vote Republican you are asking for the powers that be to be as greedy as they want - take a look at the last supreme court decision re: anonymous corporate spending.

If you vote Democratic, then VOTE this time
don't sit home because the man in the white house couldn't in two years undo what the former administration took eight years to do, or because he isn't liberal enough for you -- he's everyone's president, not just yours. His title is president, not magician! I get mad at him, too, but he hasn't had time enough or cooperation enough to finish the job. The answer is not to stay home and pout.

The powerful are counting on us being too confused, too lazy, and unwilling to be really informed to vote in our own best interests. They keep us - the little people, fighting each other over things like religious differences, race, abortion, so they can obscure what they're up to - which is making us even less powerful and poorer than we are now. I would bet that most people are in the same boat I am. I need a COLA to help pay for buying too much with credit cards, I'm not going to get it, so I will continue to cut back where I can and wait til my foolish debts are paid and hopefully spend smarter in the future.
We will be a third world country in no time
if we don't vote, don't take our responsibility to participate in government seriously and don't hold their feet to the fire when they get to DC. Citizenship is not a part time job,, folks, it is a full time job, every day, to know what it going on, not by watching only MSNBC or FOX, or even CNN - know what all sides are saying and THINK if it makes sense to you. Be as critical of your side as your are the oppostion. As if your life depended on it -- because it DOES!

Democracy needs to be protected from human greed. Every day, all the time. Just because you and I can't conceive of wanting more and more of what is not ours doesn't mean there aren't people who do. They are the enemy. They have no national loyalty, they certainly don't give a damn about the rest of us. The poor are getting poorer and the really, really rich are getting really, really richer. What are you going to do about it? You. Not the other guy. YOU???

Posted by: marysmailus | October 17, 2010 8:34 AM | Report abuse

The author of this article was in error. The cost of living raise was not a "decision". The cost of living raise is the law. It is tied to inflation.

Posted by: pkbishop1 | October 18, 2010 12:08 AM | Report abuse

My parents worked hard and now they are not getting what is deserved. We have a woman here at my job (NIH) is at the age of 70 and Social Security contacted her and told her she has to start collecting her SS. What a joke.

Posted by: hendersoncy | October 18, 2010 6:39 AM | Report abuse

My parents worked hard and now they are not getting what is deserved. We have a woman here at my job (NIH) is at the age of 70 and Social Security contacted her and told her she has to start collecting her SS. What a joke.

Posted by: hendersoncy | October 18, 2010 6:40 AM | Report abuse

Welp I am a federal retiree and I have been living on the edge for the last year. No COLA I will take that long drop into BANKRUPTCY!!!!!

Posted by: stang70 | October 18, 2010 7:00 AM | Report abuse

If this Country is so broke how come we are still giving $billions away in aid to other countries , fighting other countries:s wars and giving the oil companyes tax breaks. The SS COLA fomula should apply to every dime the GOV. spends.

Posted by: joec3048 | October 18, 2010 7:30 PM | Report abuse

If you depend on that COLA, you are in VERY bad shape financially. By the way, last year was the first time since 1975 that there was no COLA for civil service annuitants & Social Security beneficiaries. Not a bad run.

Do any private companies give their retirees COLAs?

Posted by: TaxiDriver | October 21, 2010 11:31 AM | Report abuse

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